Nobel prize-winning poet Louise Gluck’s first fiction work to be published in UK

The first work of fiction by American poet and Nobel laureate Louise Glück is to be published in the UK later this year.

Marigold and Rose: A Fiction is a “prose narrative” about the twins of the title, and follows them in the first year of their life as they “begin to piece together the world as they move between Mother’s stories of ‘Long, long ago’ and Father’s ‘Once upon a time”.

The book will be released in October and have just 64 pages long, is an “investigation of the great mystery of language and of time itself, of what is and what has been and what will be”, said Glück’s publisher Carcanet.

“At the same time sad and funny, and shot through with a sense of stoic wonder, this small miracle of a book is unlike anything Glück has written, while at the same time it is inevitable, transcendent,” it added.

The independent press has previously published 10 of Glück’s 13 collections of poetry, including her most recent Winter Recipes from the Collective last October, and two of her essay collections.

Michael Schmidt, managing director at Carcanet, said that “each of Louise’s books is a unique and wonderful surprise”.

Further, he added that he and his colleagues “were quite unprepared for this work, in prose – a kind of prose we’d never seen before, out of the mouths of babes, the babes of the title, clear, truthful, without a trace of sentimentality”.

Glück won the Nobel prize in 2020. In winning, she became the first American woman to do so since Toni Morrison in 1993, with the Swedish Academy hailing her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.

Anders Olsson, chair of the Nobel prize committee, said Glück’s voice was “candid and uncompromising”, and that “Glück seeks the universal, and in this, she takes inspiration from myths and classical motifs, present in most of her works”.

She has also previously won the Pulitzer prize and the National Book award. Her first book of poetry, Firstborn, was published in 1968, and she went on to win the Pulitzer prize for her 1992 collection The Wild Iris.

Reviewing a new collection of her work, Poems 1962-2020, for the Observer in 2021, Kate Kellaway said that to read Glück’s work is “to encounter stillness and slow time”.

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